OPINION: MLS Weekend Watered Down
This weekend’s MLS action was tainted by the continued insistence of the league not to break or at the very least reduce its schedule for international matches. Landon Donovan, Brad Guzan, Mo Edu, Frankie Hejduk and Rico Clark should not have to take a long flight after one international match only to take a similar length flight after the MLS match back to Europe. But it wasn’t simply Americans who were inconvenienced by MLS’ scheduling this weekend: if it were simply Americans I suppose it would be alright. Six Canadian players were busy battling mighty Brazil while several other MLS players were scattered throughout the world playing for their countries. Amado Guevara, Ivan Guerrero and their Honduran team mates were in my neck of the woods in Fort Lauderdale facing Venezuela. Kei Kamara and Bouna Counduil were in Africa for World Cup qualifiers, and Carl Robinson was in Wales to face Holland in the final tune up for the Dutch before the Euros begin. Several other MLS players were also absent this past weekend and will be absent for several matches in the next month.
MLS is watering down its product and cheating its fans, players and management by making no effort to resolve its scheduling issues during this period. The on the field product while acceptable isn’t what it should be during this period and that makes the whole situation laughable. Why MLS cannot change its scheduling practices is beyond me. For the first time since the inaugural season of 1996, MLS has a great number of players who are active on their respective national teams and whose presence as full internationals enhances the reputation of the league. But all of this jeopardized if the league does not make it possible for footballers to perform for both their club and country without conflict.